Dear readers,

After 1 year and 17391 visits, “Life thru Dusty Lenses has moved to it’s new home: KhanSerai-a rest stop for netravelers ( The blog will change from being focused solely on life in and around Saudi Arabia, to a more global nature.

Since centuries past, travelers have rested at serais to break their journey. These were places of rest, water, shelter and trade. People from all over broke their journeys and stories were exchanged.

KhanSerai is a 21st century version of the same, a brief respite in our collective journeys.

All old posts and comments have been moved and archived at the new location. Please change your bookmarks and rss readers to point to KhanSerai.

Martin Luther King, Jr Day

Yesterday was Martin Luther King, Jr day in the US. It is the third Monday each January, commemorating the birth of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr on January 15, 1929. He was an iconic civil rights leader who would have been 80 years old this year if he had not been assassinated at a young 39 years of age.

America would have been a different place if the civil rights movement had not happened. In fact, much of the moral high ground that the US claims nowadays is because of what America became after the 60s because of leaders like MLK, Jr.

One year ago around this same time, we were participating in an MLK interfaith peace walk in Leesburg and talking to Obama supporters about voting for change. This year has been considerably less eventful in sunny Riyadh as we watch inauguration activities on television . Let’s see what next year will bring!

Happy 200th Birthday Edgar Allan Poe!


He was 26 when he married his 13 year old cousin- maybe he had some tribal blood in him !! 🙂

Living in a Desert

Nothing drives home the reality of living in the desert like dryness. Winter is worse than summer in terms of dryness. Skin is dry and flaky, lips are chapped. No amount of lotion or moisturizer seems to be enough. Every morning one wakes up with a parched and hurting throat.

With highs in the 60s (~15-18^C) and lows in the 40s (~5-8^C), heaters are needed once in a while in the evenings/early mornings. This makes the dryness even worse.

Running the humidifier non-stop is unable to raise the moisture levels above a particular level. Opening doors or using the exhaust fans in bathrooms or kitchen makes the humidity level drop immediately.

On the plus side, no open bag of chips, crisps, popcorn, cookies etc ever becomes soggy 🙂

Expiration date

Unfortunately it is not uncommon that food and medicines sold in grocery stores and pharmacies will be past their expiration date. This happens at virtually EVERY outlet either through carelessness or because the stores are trying to make money and do not pull the expired items off the shelves.

As there is virtually no consumer protection around here, it is extremely important that you always check before you make the purchase. Frozen goods should have production and expiration dates printed on them. Canned goods also have expiration dates specifying their shelf life. Special care should be taken with fresh meat and vegetables. Promotional items, especially meat, are highly suspect. One store employee even quietly told us to avoid buying meat at the promo sections as it is almost always past its date.

Remember, your first line of protection against tainted food is always your own vigilance. Take the extra 20 sec and check the expiration dates before you purchase!


yet another crazy “self-analysis” quiz result

You Are a Dash

Your life is fast paced and varied. You are realistic, down to earth, and very honest.
You’re often busy doing something interesting, and what you do changes quickly.
You have many facets to your personality, and you connect them together well.
You have a ton of interests. While some of them are a bit offbeat, they all tie together well.
You friends rely on you to bring novelty and excitement to their lives.
(And while you’re the most interesting person they know, they can’t help feeling like they don’t know you well.)
You excel in: Anything to do with money
You get along best with: the Exclamation Point

Blog update

Today is cleanup day! All food related and personal posts have been moved off to their own blog. Categories have been consolidated and removed as needed. 


updated: Jan 18, 2009